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Potters Bar: no manslaughter charges

News

NONE OF the firms implicated in the May 2002 Potters Bar rail crash will face corporate manslaughter charges, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said this week.

The CPS said it was unable to find any individuals who could attract manslaughter charges, so it would be unable to level the same charges against the companies involved.

Jarvis was the maintenance contractor for the set of points which caused the Potters Bar derailment, killing seven people. The track was operated by Railtrack before it became Network Rail.

Earlier this month, Balfour Beatty and Network Rail were hit by record fines totalling £13.5M for health and safety breaches that led to the October 2000 Hatfi eld crash (News last week).

Attempts by the CPS to secure corporate manslaughter convictions against both firms failed.

Investigators found the cause of the Potters Bar derailment to be two pairs of nuts missing from stretcher bars critical to the functioning of the points (NCE 16 May 2002). The nuts had worked loose, but a reason for this has never emerged.

The Health & Safety Executive said it would review the case after the inquest into the deaths of those killed in the crash before deciding whether it would bring charges under the Health & Safety at Work Act. No date had been set for the inquest as NCE went to press.

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